Photo 1: The group after climbing to the top of Lion Peak
Photo 2: Li Hongyan gives her seminar presentation on hydro-dam construction
Photo 3: Our guide Guo Jin shows Professor Wang the Davida involcrata, a Class I endangered species in China.
Today was our second day in Chongqing, and the course is in full swing. The morning started out bright and early with the first of the student seminars, covering a range of topics from agriculture-induced eutrophication and aquatic invasive species to hydro-dam construction. The Canadian travelers shook off the last of their jet lag to participate in a lively and in-depth discussion with the Chinese students about the Three Gorges Dam. Everyone became so caught up in the conversation that we actually ran out of time for our last two presentations!
Lunch was held at a small cafeteria on Southwest University campus, where the Chinese students helped the Canadians to navigate the unfamiliar menus without stumbling into anything too overwhelmingly spicy. You can never go wrong with dumplings!
Our afternoon activity involved a bus ride up to beautiful Jinyun Mountain for another hike. We were accompanied by a guide, Jin Guo, who was kind enough to accompany our group and teach us about the many fascinating species of plants to be found in the park. Some of the highlights included seeing the ancientCyathea spinulosa next to a beautiful waterfall and exploring all of the endangered tree species in the botanical garden. There were a number of introduced plants from all around China, and we were able to see both deciduous conifers and leafy evergreens - very unusual and interesting. Of course, there’s always lots of gorgeous bamboo around as well! After finishing our plant observations, we decided to make the trek up to Lion Peak. This involved a seemingly endless set of stone stairs, but spirits were high and we eventually made the summit, tired but victorious. Unfortunately, the scenic view was nothing but mist, mist, and more mist. We posed for a quick photo with the great stone lion before descending to the waiting bus. Everyone had a wonderful time - although we’ll see just how sore our calves are in the morning.
Hungry after a long day, we all gathered around two long tables at an outdoor restaurant for a delicious fish dinner, complete with cold beers and some fine-tuning of the Canadian students’ chopstick skills. People are really starting to bond and connect, and there was plenty of laughter throughout the meal. Everyone is feeling really positive after such an eventful day, and we can’t wait to find out what other amazing experiences this course has to offer.
Photo 4: The ancient Cyathea spinulosa - one of only two in the whole reserve!
Photo 5: Enjoying a delicious fish dinner after a long day